FIVB - Women's Volleyball World Cup 2011


Dominicans beat Korea in another five-setter

Dominican Ana Yorkira Binet digs to keep the ball in play during the fifth set of the match against Korea

Tokyo, Japan, November 17, 2011 – The Dominican Republic had to dig deep to overcome Korea 3-2 (25-19, 25-17, 26-28, 21-25, 15-12) on the penultimate day of the women’s FIVB World Cup at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Thursday. 

It was the Dominicans’ second successive five-set match after they came back to beat Serbai on Wednesday. 

Libero Brenda Castillo picked up the Most Impressive Player award. The Dominican Republic were topped by tournament's leading scorer Bethania De La Cruz who had 31 points and Prisilla Rivera with 23, including five blocks. Other Dominicans who reached double-figures were Milagros Cabral and Lisvel Eve with 18 and 13 respectively. Korea’s top scorer was Kim Yeon-Koung with 27 points.
It was the third all-time victory over Korea for the Dominican team as they outblocked the Asian side 15-6 and outserved them 5-3. 

Korean ace Kim Yeon-Koung landed three classy kills in the opening phase of the match to help give her team an 8-6 advantage at the first technical timeout. Bethania De La Cruz did her best to keep the Dominicans in contention with some decent hits of her own, while Korea setter Choi Youn-Ok came up with two telling contributions – a beautiful quick tipover that made the score 10-8 and a sensational dig that led to a Korean point and put her team four points ahead at 13-9. De La Cruz and Cindy Rondon came up with good blocks, with Rondon’s leveling the scores at 15-15. From there, the Dominican Republic went on a four-point run that Milagros Cabral capped with a massive crosscourt piledriver. Hwang tried to keep Korea competitive, but the gap was too great. A block by Prisilla Rivera put the Koreans six points back and spikes by Lisvel Eve and Rivera put the Dominican Republic 1-0 up.

The Dominicans looked like they were going to pull away early in the second set before Korea’s big hitters – Hwang, Kim Yeon-Koung and Kim Hee-Jin – weighed in and gave the Koreans a one-point lead at the first TTO. Brenda Castillo made a brilliant set from deep for Cabral to pull the teams level at 9-9 and Cabral then made a great block on Korea captain Kim Se-Young to put her team ahead. A service ace by De La Cruz set the Dominicans on a run and they were 16-10 ahead at the second TTO. Korean substitute Park Jeong-Ah did well after coming on – apart from her serving – but her teammates were firing only sporadically and even the usually inspiring Hwang was missing badly. Hwang sent a serve into the net for setpoint and then sent a shot wide to put the Dominicans 2-0 ahead. 

Hwang made it a hat trick of errors when she missed a spike at the start of the third set (she also planted her next serve into the net), but De La Cruz was also misfiring and three errant shots helped Korea lead again at the first TTO. Three points later, the Dominicans were ahead as De La Cruz found her range and Rondon blocked Park, but neither team was dominating and it was close through 13. Korea took a two-point lead at the second TTO and they held on to it to 19-17 when a spike by Rivera and another Hwang error brought the teams level. A De La Cruz spike down the line drifted wide to give Korea setpoint at 24-23, but she made up for it with a winner on the next point. The Dominicans saved two more setpoints before De La Cruz handed the Koreans a fourth with a netted serve. Hwang then redeemed herself with a great block on Rivera that sent the match to a fourth set. 

Hwang was again in the thick of things at the start of the fourth set and contributed two good tipovers and a service ace. The Dominicans sent three successive serves into the net to give Korea a one-point lead at the first TTO and an errant hit by De La Cruz and a great block by Kim Se-Young on Cabral extended the Koreans lead to three points and they maintained this to the second TTO. Dominican coach Marcos Kwiek called a timeout when the gap stretched to five points at 19-14, but with both teams improving closing the gap was going to be tough. Kim Yeon-Koung came up with two important kills to keep her team on top and Park earned setpoint with a strong hit. De La Cruz then mis-hit a spike and the match headed for a fifth set. 

The fifth set did not start well for Korea. De La Cruz sent a big hit through their defence before a mixup between Park and Nam Jie-Youn allowed a Cabral serve to go through untouched. Eve then blocked Hwang and Korea coach Kim Hyung-Sil called a timeout. Kim Yeon-Koung responded with a rocket, but a brilliant shot from a very tight angle put the Dominicans four points ahead. Another poor serve by Hwang gave the Dominicans a four-point advantage at the changearound, but spikes by Park, Hwang and Kim Yeon-Koung closed the gap to just one point at 11-10, but good hits by De La Cruz kept the Dominicans on top. They earned three matchpoints when Korea failed to return a serve by Karla Echenique and a De La Cruz bomb ended the match. 

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